Guyanese journalists hail Rutherford’s T20 prowess
By Avenash Ramzan
Great talent. One for the future. Brilliant. Great maturity.
The praises continue to flow a day after Sherfane Rutherford lit up the Global T20 Canada with a magnificent maiden hundred to spur West Indies B to a memorable win over Vancouver Knights and a place in Sunday’s final.
The Guyanese all-rounder first held his own with the ball, claiming 2-25, as Knights ran up 215-6 with Chadwick Walton (54) and Chris Gayle (50) among the runs in Qualifier One at King City.
But his most telling contribution of the match, and arguably the innings of the tournament, came when he pulverised Knight’s attack, boasting the likes of Tim Southee, Andre Russell, Sheldon Cottrell and Steven Jacobs, all exponents of the format.
The left-hander from the quiet community of Haslington, East Coast Demerara, struck 10 sixes and 11 fours in 134 not out off 66 balls, lifting West Indies B out of a deep hole at 11-3 and taking them to victory at 221-4, winning off the last ball of the match.
Frederick Halley, a Canada-based Guyanese cricket journalist, was present at the ground to witness the onslaught from ball one, as his countryman treated the cricket ball with utter disdain.
“Rutherford’s pugnacious knock was simply brilliant,” Halley, a cricket writer since 1986, told News Room.
“The stockily-built batsman showed great maturity that belies his youthful age, displaying scant regard and total disdain for bowlers of the calibre of Tim Southee, Andre Russell and Sheldon Cottrell.”
Halley further stated, “This certainly augurs well for the future of the fledgling 19-year-old. Exuding an air of confidence, he pointed out at the press conference that he was determined to win the match for his team who were classified as the underdogs in the tournament.”
Ravendra Madholall, also a Canada-based Guyanese cricket writer, had witnessed all six of Rutherford’s innings (in which he amassed just 92 runs) prior to Thursday.
While Madholall was not present at the ground on the day Rutherford went berserk, he was following the action through live stream.
“I think he is a great talent and is definitely one for the future,” he told News Room.
“From the first match in the tournament I personally recognised his ability to hit the ball powerfully. He is a good all-rounder and this tournament has exposed his true potential.”
Madholall believes Cricket West Indies selectors need to take note of such budding young talent.
“I think West Indies should take him to the ICC World Cup in 2019 when it will be held in England. Rutherford’s experience at the regional level representing Guyana plays a huge role for him to be this productive at the Global T20,” Madholall reckoned.
He added, “That magnificent, unbeaten 134 really exemplified his talent to be an excellent batsman. He scored rapidly against a quality bowling attack. He mixed responsibility with aggression and orchestrated a brilliant win against Vancouver Knights, who are one of the tournament’s favourites.”
At the post-match press conference, Gayle, statistically the greatest T20 batsman, said, “Rutherford you know; you have to give the guy credit…clean hitting and he batted superbly and he deserved that hundred. Like I said he took it home for his team.”
Rutherford said he was under some pressure to score coming into the game. “It’s a very great feeling, I started the tournament very slow, I wasn’t getting that start. I was telling myself that before the tournament I have to at least get a big score and help my team and today was a perfect day and it paid off.”
Notably, Rutherford batted at number four in this match. In the other games, he was used as an opener.